About superdoula

I am a somewhat disgruntled mother of 6 children under the age of 10. I am a mediocre mommy, trying to keep it all together! I'm pretty sure I don't ever get it right, but I am still hanging in there!

Go Big, Go Bald….

I was wrong.  I was really, really wrong.

My Hobbit never had a single doubt about shaving her head.  She never flinched, never wavered, and has still not stopped smiling!

Her anxiety didn’t sideline her.  She didn’t worry about what people would say or how she would look.  As a matter of fact, she is in love with her fuzzy scalp!

I am kind of in love with it too.  She is remarkably beautiful.  Her eyes dance.  Her smile lights up her face.  She rubs her head because it is so soft and prickly all at the same time.

She says she wouldn’t mind keeping her hair like this.  I tell her it looks pretty badass.  Of course, I whisper the word “badass” because she and I both know that word is not appropriate.  But we also know that it is absolutely true. And that being a badass is something to be proud of.

She is no longer afraid.

I struggle to reconcile the young woman before me with the lost and frightened little girl who needed the help of her younger sister to make it onto the bus every day last year.  It is excruciating to remember the nights that Hubby and I sat awake, knowing that the hallucinations would overtake her before we could asleep.

Her shoulders are no longer stooped.  Her eyes shine with confidence rather than fear.

She is not afraid to make big decisions.  She is not afraid to take chances.  She is not afraid.

Shaving her hair was not just an act of solidarity for kids with cancer.  Shaving her hair allowed her to be free.  When her hair fell to the floor, so did her worries, her inhibitions, her fears, and her past.

She grew that day.  She left baggage behind, and she began to stand taller than ever.  She became even stronger and more beautiful than she has ever been.

People gave us words of praise and affirmation for our parenting after she shaved her head.  I didn’t feel deserving.  This Hobbit teaches me how to parent a child who is more insightful than I am.  She teaches me how to live with someone who feels deeply and has endless empathy and compassion.

Sometimes, I don’t feel like I even parent her.  I simply do my best to empower her.  I cheer her on.  I watch her learning to walk and then beginning to fly.  I am privileged to be a witness to her journey.

She will never walk the easy path, but she is going to have one hell of a  beautiful life!

Bald is beautiful…

Hobbit #2 is raising money for pediatric cancer research. She is participating in an event where she will shave her hair in solidarity with children who lose their hair to cancer treatment.  She will be completely bald at this time tomorrow.

The Hobbit originally set her fundraising goal at $500.  She really just hoped to raise enough for a free tee shirt.  When donations began to come in, we raised her goal to a scary $1,500.  Now, she has brought in over $3,000 and donations are still coming in.  People have responded with astonishing generosity.

My 11-year-old child is the top fundraiser of 160 people participating in her event.

I could not be more proud.  And I could not be more nervous for her.

This Hobbit is one of the strongest human beings I know.  She is true to herself.  She is not afraid to be different.  She is not afraid to take risks.  She feels deeply and stands strong for her beliefs.

She said to me, “Mom, I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel like I have a calling in my life.  I feel compelled to do this.”

How can she be so wise at such a tender, young age?  Her challenges in life have taken her to a place where she has learned to deeply know herself.  When she shows insight like that, I believe her.  I am amazed by her self-awareness.  I carry her words within my heart.

I worry that the reality of being bald will be shocking compared to the idea of it.

I have seen lesser things test her to her limits, and I worry that she will go back to a place of uncontrolled anxiety.

I am afraid of trusting her to make such a risky decision, and of possibly seeing her hurt.

But I am trusting that she is strong enough to handle it.  I want her to know that she should never be afraid to take chances and to make bold decisions.  I want her to learn that big decisions come with risk, but they can also come with great rewards.

I don’t want to send her the message that big decisions are too scary.  I don’t want her to play it safe in her life.  I want her…..I want all of my Hobbits…..to know that I will cheer them on when they do big things.

Sometimes, big decisions work out better, or worse, than you could have predicted.   But regardless of the outcome, you are stronger for having the courage to take chances.

I will cry tomorrow as the clippers begin to buzz.  I will cry for how brave my Hobbit is.  I will cry for how far she has come from where she was just one short year ago, when she battled demons that none of us could understand.  I will cry for her bravery in standing up to her anxiety and fighting back.

I will cry as I watch her take a step of independence.  I will cry because I know that I cannot always protect her.

Despite the tears, I will smile.  My heart will nearly burst from pride.  I will marvel at the support she will receive from her siblings.  I will cry tears of joy.

My Hobbit will know she is loved and that her family is with her every step of the way through her life.

My Hobbit is destined for great things in her life.  This is just the beginning.  I can’t wait to see what is waiting for her.





Fifty Shades of Bullshit…

I read the Fifty Shades of Gray books.  All three of them.  They passed the time.

Mommies are busy and tired.  Why not spice things up?

I have one mediocre friend who claims she read the Fifty Shades books on maternity leave because she just had to know how the story ended.  Really, mommy?  The plot kept you reading?  Did I ever mention that Hubby had a subscription to Playboy when we were dating because “the articles were just so interesting”?

Mommies went to see the movie. Mommies went to the theater with girlfriends, and mommies will see the movie on DVD.  Whatever floats your boat, girl!  Get after it!

l will be honest.  I sat in the front row to see Magic Mike with my mediocre girlfriends.  And, yes, indeed, I will see the second one, probably all alone.  Because I really want to be in my own bed with naked Channing Tatum across the room.  Don’t judge!

But, back to Fifty Shades.  I don’t think I will see this movie.

I read that the Christian Gray actor visited sex shops and sex clubs to prepare for his role.  He said that he needed to shower before he could touch his wife and newborn baby.  He just felt so dirty.

Dude, what exactly were you doing in the name of “research”?  And what publicist told you to say that?

Here’s the deal.  Once upon a time, I tried just about anything in the bedroom.  (Okay, fine, it was last week, but whatever!) To see if I might like it, or to be able to say that, yes, indeed, I had “been there and done that.”  So what if I didn’t hate having my ass smacked while doing it in the front seat of my new car?  Who are you, Hollywood Pretty Boy, to judge how anybody gets their fun?  Who are you to say that my definition of pleasure is “dirty”?

Besides the lead actor being a Puritanical prick, I have problems with the entire premise of the story.

Here is a simplistic recap of the story line…..

Young, vulnerable, naïve female reporter gets a dream assignment to interview a wealthy, spoiled, narcissistic, bachelor business mogul.  He is damaged and sadistic.  She is horny and innocent.  They enter a consensual slave and master sexual relationship.  They have crazy kinky sex, but she sees a softer side to him as well.  They develop feelings for each other.  By the end of the book series, her love and innocence have allowed him to recover from his damaged past.  He finds sexual satisfaction in her love alone, and she finds her happily-ever-after.

Get the idea?

First of all, how many of us mommies feel young and innocent anymore?  I can’t speak for all of us, but I’m mostly just grown and cynical.  I have had enough experience to know that wealthy may be nice, but egotistical and spoiled are probably not going to change.

Horny is horny, and kinky sex is pretty fantastic.  But let’s not confuse it with love.  Sex brings all kinds of fabulous emotions, but true love is scraping the vomit out of your lover’s hair when they have the flu.  Yay!  Happily ever after.

Love is not necessarily healing.  More often, it means finding someone who will accept you as damaged and still choose to love you.

Now…you want me to do what??  Hey, right, that sounds like a great idea.  I have had your spawn sucking on my tits all day, and I couldn’t wait for you to get home, shove a plug in my ass, and remind me who is the boss.

On second thought, I have an even better idea.  How about you go load the dishwasher and get the screaming toddler out of time-out?  How about we try Fifty Shades of Housework?  Or Fifty Shades of Leave-Me-the-Fuck-Alone?

Let me tell you something, Christian Gray.  There is absolutely no leather riding crop that can turn me on like the scent of lemon Pine-Sol.

If you are willing to slog through the piles of laundry and help me load the dishwasher, I may be willing to try that blindfold in 5 years or so.  Or at least something a little more inspired than the lazy handjobs you’ve been getting lately.

How about Fifty Shades of Real Life?




My moment….

Several years ago, I noticed that my oldest Hobbit’s hair on her legs was darkening.  I moaned to a friend that the future was coming, and I was sad, apprehensive, and excited.

My precious friend cut us each a giant piece of chocolate cake.  Because every mother knows that the hard things in life are easier when they are cushioned by chocolate, wine, or coffee.

We talked about what the future would hold as our children grew and how we hoped to parent them through their teenage years.

I had imagined that I would have lovely and progressive moments with my young teenagers, but it has not exactly turned out that way.  Hobbit #1 is very private.  Here is the link to my first post about parenting a daughter through the beginning of puberty.

Last night, I finally had my moment.  The warm and fuzzy mother-daughter moment that I had envisioned.

Hobbit #1 had asked me to teach her to shave her legs.  I purchased her a brand new razor and her own girly shaving cream.  Quite a difference from Dad’s old razor and the soap and water I started with as a girl.

We sat on the edge of the bathtub with our feet in the water, and began to shave our legs together.  I didn’t make a big deal out of it, and she told me at the end that it was much less embarrassing than she had imagined it would be.  High words of praise from that girl!

I couldn’t help myself, though.  Halfway through the process, I apologized for what I was about to say, and then told her how happy I was to be sharing this with her.  In her very pragmatic way, she answered, “I can’t believe you waited this long to say it.”

When we were all done, without a nick for either of us, I had to give her a hug and tell her what an awesome girl I think she is.  She humored me, of course.

As a mom, my first journey through puberty is not at all what I had expected.  There have not been very many warm and fuzzy moments.  But it is her journey, to navigate in her own way.

I am respecting her path, and I am just along for the ride.  So far, I would say she’s doing a damn fine job of making her way.




The yellow ribbon….

As a little girl, I devoured every written word in front of me.  I read everything from nutrition labels on the cereal box to warning inserts about toxic shock syndrome.  If it had words, I was probably reading it.

I read the dictionary and cross-referenced words that I didn’t know.  I learned plenty of bad words that way.  Or proper words for bad things I already knew.  I suppose it was my antiquated version of Google and Wikipedia.

My first steamy romance novel was left in my bedroom after a family member visited.  I learned way more about sexual positions than I should have known when I found a sex how-to book in my mother’s closet.  Thankfully, that book taught me that I would not go blind or grow hair on my palms from masturbation like my brothers would.

My grandparents had shelves full of encyclopedias and old textbooks.  I loved to curl up in the corner, behind their old chairs, secluded and reading for long stretches of time.  One of my favorite books on those old bookshelves was a reading textbook from someone’s long-gone school days.

There was a particular story in that book that captured my imagination, and an animated dinner conversation brought the story to mind.  I promised the Hobbits that I would tell a bedtime story instead of our usual reading time.  With all of the Hobbits gathered around, I began the story….

Once upon a time, there was a little boy and a little girl who became best friends.  The little girl always wore a yellow ribbon tied around her neck.  The little boy asked, “Why do you always wear that yellow ribbon around your neck?”   She mysteriously replied that perhaps, someday, she would tell him the reason.

The story continues as the children grow up, fall in love, and eventually get married.  The question continues to be asked and unanswered, “why do you always wear the yellow ribbon around your neck?”

Finally, into old age, the woman is on her deathbed and reveals her secret.  She gives the boy permission to remove her yellow ribbon “and….. plop…. her head fell off!”

The Hobbits had a split second of shocked silence, and then dissolved into uncontrollable laughter. They repeated over and over through their giggles, “Plop!  Her head fell off!”

One example of why I am not that great at mothering.  That is no way to settle rowdy Hobbits into bed.  What was I thinking?  By the time they were tucked in, I just wanted to yell at them to be quiet.

But then, when the house was quiet, I was convinced that I am a rocking good mom.

Hopefully, they will not remember all of the nights that I hastily pushed them toward their beds, looking forward to the glass of wine or the bag of Oreo cookies waiting for me.

I hope someday, as adults, they will find themselves all gathered together, dissolving into laughter, before the most mischievous of them can even finish saying the word, “Plop!….”



Dinner time blues…..

What are we having for dinner? Is it smoked sausage? Are we having sauerkraut? Why can’t we have sauerkraut? I hate sauerkraut. Can we have sauerkraut tomorrow? I love it so much. No! I hate it!  Mom, what’s for dinner?

I walk out of the room and repeatedly bang my head against the wall. No. Wait. Instead, I think I will open a bottle of wine.

I want to scream at the Hobbits, but instead, I feel a pit in my stomach, and the waves of desperation wash over me.  I continue cutting vegetables for dinner.

There is no way to win at motherhood.

Someone is always upset. Someone is unhappy.  Usually, it is me.

There are tears, there are tantrums, there is screaming.  Mostly just from me.

There are days when I simply swear that motherhood is a losing game and it will eventually sink me. I can’t see land, and I can’t touch bottom.

Maybe they will forgive me someday.  Maybe they won’t.  Maybe they will love me anyway.  Maybe they won’t.

I usually forgive them.  I usually love them anyway.

Today, I don’t forgive them.  Today, I am angry that nothing is ever good enough.  Today, I don’t really like them.  Today, they don’t really like each other.  They probably don’t like me, either.

I don’t really care.  Tomorrow, I will try again.

I had better not drink all the wine.

Happy New Year

I rang in the new year in an unexpected way.  I sat in an emergency room until the doctors finally decided to keep Hobbit #4 overnight.

We settled into our room at about 8 pm, cuddled in bed, and finally fell asleep around 10. Neither of us saw fireworks.  We didn’t watch the festivities on television.  We didn’t see the Times Square ball drop.

It reminded me that we never, ever know what a new year, or even a new day, will bring.

I took a walk down memory lane to the last time Hobbit #4 and I celebrated the turning of a new year in a hospital together.  I was pregnant and we were trying to keep her from coming out too soon.  A dear friend became even more dear as we cradled our pregnant bellies and drank sparkling grape juice to celebrate the coming of 2007.

Our strong and sassy girls were born in the early months of that new year.

Last night, I held that same sassy little Hobbit close while the calendar again turned to a new year.  As I held her close and breathed in the smell of her sweat and shampoo, I realized that I never got those hospital cuddles with her.  She was born in a whirlwind, and our first snuggles were under a blanket in an ambulance.  She was whisked away from me to a NICU where our cuddles took place behind a privacy screen while I gave her my milk to comfort her through her first days of life, hooked up to IV’s and poked and stuck every few hours to monitor her progress.  I held her at my breast, while she was connected to tubes and lights to clear her jaundice.

I was angry.  I was angry with God that he would allow my precious, tiny girl to have such a rude first few days of life.  I was angry with the doctors who wouldn’t let her leave, even though she showed no signs of infection.  I was angry with myself for imaginary things that I had done “wrong” to cause her to be here.  I was angry that we weren’t snuggling at home with the other 3 Hobbits.

But somehow, even through my anger, I found moments to treasurel.  The wee hours of the morning when I would stumble through the halls of the hospital to feed her and feel my milk letdown, knowing that my body was still connected to her in some very primal way.

I came to love the way the nurses cared for her as if she were their very own precious little one.  And they cared for me also.  Did I need a snack?  A drink?  A cup of coffee?

On this New Year’s holiday, I loved our new nurses.  The first nurse who immediately asked my sick little girl her favorite color and then returned to her room with a beautiful pair of purple fairy wings.  The nurse who tiptoed in while my little one was fast asleep and took her temperature and her vitals so quietly and gently that she never even woke up.  The nurses who checked in on her when this mediocre mommy needed a break and headed to the cafeteria to get a cup of coffee and make a phone call.  The lovely nurses who brought her every flavor of popsicle, or juice, or Gatorade that she could possibly think to ask for.  The nurses who brought extra pillows and blankets so that I could curl up in bed with her.  The nurses who brought towels and shampoo so that I could shower.

The holiday was a repeat of many of the experiences she and I had shared before.  Our ambulance ride to the hospital reminded me of that first ambulance ride, just an hour after she was born.  The marking of a new year reminded me of the holiday when I wasn’t sure if she was going to be born too early.  The snuggles in our hospital bed reminded me of that precious time I never had with her.

And then I watched her use the remote from her hospital bed, whenever she wanted, to watch television shows that she wanted, and I saw what a big, strong, sweet girl she has become.  I watched her independently use the call button for the nurse, and advocate for what she wanted or needed.

Those were my jobs when she was so very little.  She is growing up, finding her independence, and she is able to speak for herself.

Those 24 hours were not how I had envisioned spending part of our holidays, but honestly, I found many, many moments to treasure.


Happy Thanksgiving….

I have so many reasons to be thankful.  But my Thanksgiving has a cloud over it that I cannot shake.

A couple of years ago, I was determined to handle the holiday family anxiety with grace and dignity.  Instead, I handled it with too much Xanax and wine.  You can visit those posts here and here if you want to relive the horror.

After my brother had a scary accident, my family vowed that we would stay close and connected. For a while, we tried.  And then old habits and human nature surfaced.  We drifted again.

I almost wish I had spent this holiday flattened by Xanax.  Because, you see, I remember very little of that Xanax day.  I wish I could forget how I felt on this Thanksgiving.

I spent the day reminding myself that my Hobbits are a gift.  I gave them my best as we carried on a family tradition of making dumplings.  Every little Hobbit helped in some way.  It was messy and took much longer than necessary, but it is an experience that creates holiday memories for the Hobbit to carry with them as they grow.

I held my Hubby close and knew that he will always be my safe place.

I enjoyed every moment of being with Hubby’s mediocre family, laughing, and loving cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles who have become my family.  We cried as we toasted those that have left us. We missed them deeply.

I held my (not-so-mediocre) mother-in-law tightly, as she has become my own mother.

Through it all, though, there was still a lingering cloud over my heart.  I had my chosen family around me, but I had been deeply hurt by the family I was born into.

Today, I will not mince my words.  Today, I will not worry if my family will read this.  Today, this blog is not for my readers.  Today, the blog is a place to work through the difficult emotions I am feeling.

I woke up this morning to a sweet message from my crazy mother.  She told me that my family is precious and wished me a happy Thanksgiving.

Less than an hour later, over morning coffee, I learned that my parents were spending the holiday less than 10 miles from my house, without a word to me.  I wondered how “precious” I could possibly be to them?

I am not precious enough to warrant a visit, and neither are my Hobbits.  We are not precious enough to be told that they are going to be traveling so close to us.

For several weeks, I have thought about my childhood, and even more so, about the way my family has treated me since I became an adult.  Judgement from the people who gave you life and raised you hurts at every age.  Or at least, every age up until 42.

Just when I think I have learned to deal with it, and that it cannot affect me anymore, it does.  And it hurts all over again.

They don’t treat any of their other kids like they treat me.  They spend loads of time with sibling #2….in a weird, unhealthy sort of way since his accident…although they don’t seem all that interested in his wife or kids.  Sibling #3 has stayed close to them in spite of the fact that they have made him mental in so many ways.  Sibling #4 still sees them and has the golden child-heir.  And Sibling #5 is the one they spent their holiday with.  He has tried for years to win their love and approval.  Maybe it is finally working for him.

I don’t know how to process this.  I don’t know how to find any sort of perspective.  I don’t know where to go from here.  (Dear therapist, if you are reading this, get ready to see me next week. I have issues.)

Maybe there is no way to make it better.  Maybe the only thing I can do is make a different life for the Hobbits.

I comfort myself with the knowledge that my Hobbits will never be hurt by them.  I comfort myself with the knowledge that the Hobbits know how fiercely we love them.  I comfort myself with the knowledge that I have had a family for 19 years that loves me unconditionally.  I comfort myself with the knowledge that those are the family my Hobbits are growing up with.  I comfort myself with the knowledge that my Hobbits have involved and loving grandparents in Hubby’s family.

I comfort myself in the best ways I can.

I hold the Hobbits close.  I find solace in the arms of Hubby.  And I get up every day to be the best  partner, mother, and badass woman that I can be.

Badass.  Fiercely protective.  Unconditionally loving.  Those are the only gifts I have to offer.  I have to believe it will be enough.  I do believe it will be enough.



The night that dinner imploded….

The Hobbits wrote this for me.  I couldn’t have done it any better.

The Night that Dinner Imploded….

1.  Hobbits are talking about different teachers that have an innovative policy when students forget something for class.  Need to borrow a pencil from the teacher?  Trade in one of your shoes.  You also forgot your red pen?  Trade in a second shoe.  When you need your shoes back, you will remember to return the teacher’s supplies.

2.  Mediocre Mommy begins to think out loud.  Thoughts that were clearly better left unsaid.  “That is a great idea.   How could I make that work for me?  What could I make you trade to do your chores?  What about your loveys?  I could have you each deposit your favorite things into a basket as you leave for school.  While you are gone, I will check your room.  If it is clean, I will leave your things in your room for you.”

3.  Hobbits begin to poke holes in my plan.  “I don’t have a lovey.”  That’s right.  Well, I suppose I will take your favorite library book.  “I will hide my lovey.  I won’t tell you which book is my favorite.” For each of their plans, I come up with an equally devious way to outsmart them.

4.  The Hobbits begin to panic, and their plans become more desperate.  “I have known each of you since you were a single strand of DNA.  Do you really think there is any way you will outsmart me?”

5.  Hobbits around the table begin to sob uncontrollably.

6.  Mediocre Mommy begins to laugh uncontrollably because there is something just so ridiculously satisfying about getting your kids where it hurts.

7.  Hubby walks in from work, horrified at the scene displayed before him.  Hobbit are crying crocodile tears;  Mediocre Mommy is laughing hysterically.  He immediately sides with the Hobbits, as I have clearly lost all control.  I yell at him to stay out of it.

8.  Hobbits leave the kitchen in tears, only to return with proclamations of their impending moves and their search for new families.

9.  The mayhem finally settles a bit when Hobbit #4 tearfully asks if she can go see the school counselor tomorrow.  I laugh again, but this time, I try valiantly to suppress my giggles.

10.  I tuck Hobbits into bed and kiss them goodnight without tripping on one single stray toy or piece of laundry out of place in their rooms.

Dinner was a disaster, but it looks like my plan for getting chores done will work out just fine.

The Wheels on the bus…..

“The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round.  The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round, all through the town.”

Now, replace the words with these:

“I’m gonna run away and change my name, change my name, change my name.  I’m gonna run away and change my name, so no one knows who I am.”

I created this little ditty when I was driving one day.  There was nowhere for me to run…. nowhere to hide.  I so desperately wanted to drown out the Hobbits that I began to sing to the only tune in my head.

The song is catchy.  It’s rude.  And it is perfect for belting at the top of your lungs when you just cannot take one more call of “mommmmm!”

I have been asked what I am doing with my time now that only one Hobbit is home during the day.  I have been asked if she and I are enjoying our time together.  I have been asked if I can please do a better job of cleaning the house and getting errands and projects done.  (Guess who!)

There are times when it certainly feels like a luxury to have only one little face peering through the fog of my shower.  Or only one fist pounding at the door while I pee.  Or only one pair of shoes to find before we can leave the house.

There is only one vote on what to watch on television. I only have to make one lunch, because I’m just going to eat the crusts from her plate and save room for Oreo cookies at nap time.

I have no idea what I am doing with all of this “free” time I have found.  I do get to read a chapter in a book here and there, and sometimes, I even flip through the new Time magazine at lunch.

Mostly, though, I just wish I could run away and change my name.

I argue with that little Hobbit all freaking day.  About 80% of the time, I win.

When five Hobbits come home from school, it is like a herd of elephants just plowed through my front door.   They charge in and trumpet for a snack.  They vomit backpacks, papers, lunchboxes, sweatshirts, and stinky socks all over the front room.  They argue and push and chatter incessantly about the “hilarious” things that happened.  I use the term “hilarious” very loosely.

Every one of them ask what is for snack, even though the answer is the same every day.  Every single one of them ask if they can play outside, even though the answer is the same every day.  Every one of them ask what is for dinner, and they usually ask that one more than once.

Between 3:00 and 3:30, I have given at least six answers of “fruit or vegetables,” six replies of “not until you do your homework and chores,” and probably ten answers of my menu planning.

By the time Hubby comes home, I am ready to pull out my hair.

He will say something like, “you were fine when I talked to you a couple of hours ago.  What happened?”  He asks with genuine confusion, and I wonder the same thing.

What the hell happened?

The wheels on the bus stopped going ’round and ’round.  The wheels fell completely off the stupid bus, and I did not run away and change my name when I had the chance.